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(1) The public welfare is promoted by economically healthy commercial areas which can dually function as centers of commerce and as civic centers where people can meet and interact, and which therefore attract people to shop, work, recreate and engage in public discourse. These areas provide easily-accessible goods and services to local residents, workers and tourists, employment opportunities, tax revenue necessary to support essential public and social services, and economic productivity necessary to maintain and improve property within these areas;
(2) Aggressive begging usually includes, but is not limited to, menacingly approaching or following pedestrians, repetitive soliciting money despite refusals, the use of abusive or profane language to cause fear and intimidation, unwanted physical contact, or the intentional blocking of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. In some circumstances, aggressive begging, intentional obstruction of pedestrian or vehicle traffic, or solicitation in certain areas where a person is captive or more vulnerable, may deter many members of the public from frequenting those areas. This, in turn, contributes to an erosion of the essential economic viability of those areas. Business failures and relocations can cause vacant storefronts contributing to a spiral of deterioration and blight which harms the public health, safety and welfare.
(3) The Council further finds that the presence of individuals who solicit money from persons at or near banks, automated teller machines, in public transportation vehicles, at outdoor cafes, or of someone waiting in line, is especially troublesome because of the increased vulnerability and enhanced fear of crime in those confined environments. Motorists also find themselves confronted by persons seeking money who, without permission, wash their automobile windows at traffic intersections, despite explicit indications by drivers not to do so. Such activity carries with it an implicit threat to both persons and property.
(4) The public should not have to endure unwanted, aggressive begging. There are numerous places within the City where non-aggressive soliciting may be accommodated without unduly interfering with the safe flow of pedestrian traffic, impairing commercial activity, threatening public safety or harming the public welfare. These other places include most city sidewalks, city parks, common areas open to the public, and private property with the permission of the property owner.
(5) The limitations on the time, place and manner of begging or soliciting are reasonably necessary and appropriately balances the public interest and individual rights.
(b) Definitions. For the purpose of this section the following definitions apply:
(1) “Aggressive manner” means to beg with the intent to coerce, threaten, hound or intimidate another person into giving money or goods and includes, but is not limited to:
(i) Intentionally or recklessly making any physical contact with or touching another person in the course of begging or soliciting without the person's consent;
(ii) Following the person being solicited if that conduct is: (1) intended to or is likely to cause a reasonable person to fear imminent bodily harm or the commission of a criminal act upon property in the person's possession; or (2) is intended to or is reasonably likely to intimidate the person being solicited into responding affirmatively to the solicitation;
(iii) Continuing to beg or solicit within five (5) feet of the person being solicited after the person has made a negative response, if continuing the solicitation is: (1) intended to or is likely to cause a reasonable person to fear imminent bodily harm or the commission of a criminal act upon property in the person’s possession; or (2) is intended to or is reasonably likely to intimidate the person being solicited into responding affirmatively to the solicitation;
(iv) Intentionally or recklessly blocking the safe or free passage of the person being solicited or requiring the person, or the driver of a vehicle, to take evasive action to avoid physical contact with the person making the solicitation. Acts authorized as an exercise of one's constitutional right to picket or legally protest shall not constitute obstruction of pedestrian or vehicular traffic;
(v) Intentionally or recklessly using obscene or abusive language or gestures: (1) intended to or is likely to cause a reasonable person to fear imminent bodily harm or the commission of a criminal act upon property in the person’s possession; or (2) is intended to or is reasonably likely to intimidate the person being solicited into responding affirmatively to the solicitation; or
(vi) Approaching the person being solicited in a manner that: (1) is intended to or is likely to cause a reasonable person to fear imminent bodily harm or the commission of a criminal act upon property in the person’s possession; or (2) is intended to or is reasonably likely to intimidate the person being solicited into responding affirmatively to the solicitation.
(2) “Beg” means to ask for, solicit or demand money or goods as a charity, whether by words, bodily gestures, signs or other means.
(3) “Intimidate” means to engage in conduct which would make a reasonable person fearful or feel compelled or threatened.
(4) “Public Place” means both public property and private property open to the public and includes, but is not limited to, parks, plazas, parking lots, highways, streets, bridges, alleys, driveways, sidewalks, walkways, and areas generally accessible to the public.
(5) “Solicitation” or “Solicit” means any request made in person seeking an immediate donation of money, food, cigarettes or other thing of value from another person, by words, gestures, signs or other means, whether or not in exchange for goods, services or other consideration, regardless of the solicitor’s purpose or intended use of the money or other thing of value. Purchase of an item for an amount far exceeding its value, under circumstances where a reasonable person would understand that the purchase is in substance a donation, is a donation for the purpose of this section. A person is not soliciting for the purpose of this section when he or she passively displays a sign or gives any other indication that he or she is seeking donations, and where he or she does not address his or her solicitation to any specific person other than in response to an inquiry by that person.
(c) Prohibited acts. It shall be unlawful for any person to beg or solicit another person:
(1) In an aggressive manner in a public place;
(2) In any public transportation vehicle;
(3) Within twenty-five (25) feet of any entrance or exit of any bank or check cashing business or within twenty-five (25) feet of any automated teller machine or check cashing business without the consent of the owner or other person legally in possession of such facilities;
(4) From any operator of a motor vehicle that is in traffic on a public street in exchange for cleaning the vehicle's windows, or for blocking, occupying, or reserving a public parking space, or directing the occupant to a public parking space; provided, however, that this paragraph shall not apply to services rendered in connection with emergency repairs requested by the operator or passengers of such vehicle.
(5) While standing in any portion of a street or median, highway, or driveways, to solicit from any person traveling in a vehicle along a public right-of-way, including, but not limited to public streets, highways or driveways.
(d) Notice. No person shall be cited under subsection (c) of this section unless the person engages in conduct prohibited by said subsection after having been notified by a law enforcement officer that the conduct violates subsection (c) of this section.
(1) A violation of this section may be punished by a fine not to exceed One Hundred and no/100ths ($100.00) Dollars or by imprisonment for term not to exceed thirty (30) days, or by both. If the person has been convicted of a violation of this section within the previous period of one year, the person shall be fined not more that Two Hundred Fifty and no/100ths ($250.000) Dollars or imprisoned for not more than ninety (90) days, or both.
(2) In lieu of, or in addition to the penalty provided in this section, a person in violation of this section may be required to perform community service work as described by the court.
(3) Any arrest or conviction under this section shall be disclosed to government social service agencies who request that the applicable public official be notified of such events.
(§ 1, Ord. 1301-NS, eff. October 23, 1997)